Introduction: Card Stock Delta Jet Airplane

About: Airplane enthusiast and dream aviator.

I have been fascinated by military aircraft since childhood. With this design, I tried to capture the visual appeal of delta-wing fighters in a design that glides pretty well and is not super difficult to build.

Expect to spend one and a half to two hours making this plane. There are points at which you need to pause to allow glue to dry. Some experience with paper airplanes and crafting is recommended.

You are encouraged to take this design as a starting point and to modify it as you see fit. The form of the fuselage and other aspects of the design could serve as a foundation for many types of aircraft.

Good luck.


-Sheet of 8.5" x 11" card stock (preferably 65 lb.)

-Two standard paper clips (approx. 1.25" long)

-Glue (preferable glue stick and liquid PVA)

-Clear tape


-Ruler or straight edge

Step 1:

Step 2: Download and Print

Print or photocopy the plans onto card stock.

The document is 7.5" x 10". Print at 100% scale.

Step 3: Cut Out the Pieces and Start the Creases

Be patient and try to consistently cut on the inside edges of the black lines. Dotted lines indicate folds, and light grey lines are references for assembly.

To establish the creases on the main piece (fuselage and wings), place the piece over a straightedge or rigid ruler. Make sure the dotted line is directly over the edge. Run your fingernail over the dotted line to establish the crease.

Step 4: Body and Wings

Spend some time working the creases to 90 degrees. The middle three folds are "mountain" folds. The next are "valley" folds, where the fuselage is folded back onto itself—these will be pushed to 180 degrees. The last two, at the wing roots, are "mountain" folds.

Step 5: Brace the Fuselage

Glue the two side pieces onto the nose. Make sure to use a thin layer of glue that covers the whole surface.

Glue the duplicate panels of the fuselage together. You can use a scrap piece of paper to prevent glue from getting on the wings. A glue stick or liquid glue work fine for this step. Press the layers together and allow ten minutes of drying time under a book.

Next, use PVA glue to attach the brace on the bottom of the fuselage. Press it down and make sure the whole surface has bonded well. Allow another several minutes of drying time, but continue to the next step now.

Step 6: Adding Form to Components

As other parts are drying, work on the rest of the pieces. The most complex is the brace that will be place on top of the wings and fuselage. The center fold is a "mountain" and the other tow are "valleys".

Step 7: Adding Form to the Fuselage

Restore the fuselage to the approximate shape of a square prism.

Practice pinching the nose. The squared tabs will be between the rounded ends of the nose.

Apply a reasonable amount of glue to the inside portions of the pieces, pinch them together. Check to make sure they're well aligned, adjust them as needed, and continue pinching for a few minutes (or use a clothes pin to do that job).

Apply glue to the last 0.75" of the tail pieces, on the inside. (If the glue tapers to cover a little less at the bottom edge, that's fine.)

Step 8: Attaching the Stabilizers and Braces

Glue the two horizontal stabilizer pieces together; the smaller piece goes on the bottom. Glue the two halves of the vertical stabilizer together. Do NOT apply glue to the entirety of the vertical stabilizer, as the bottom tabs must remain separate.

Establish a slight crease on the center line of the horizontal stabilizer and give it a touch of dihedral.

Apply PVA glue to the slit of the horizontal stabilizer and fit it together with the vertical stabilizer. Allow the glue to dry for several minutes, then apply glue to the bottom panels of the vertical stabilizer and attach it to the plane. Follow the guidelines, and double check to make sure the horizontal stabilizer is parallel with the wings. If not, raise or lower the trailing edge (depending on which is needed as required) before the glue sets up.

Step 9: Wings and Canopy

Attach the top brace over the fuselage and wings. Use the reference lines (on the wing) for accurate placement. As always, a consistent layer of glue is called for, and the pieces will need to be pressed together over their entire surface to get a good bond. As you do this, be aware of the positioning of the wings, so as not to push them too far up or down.

If desired, use a white pencil or pen to lighten the areas of the canopy that would be transparent. Glue the two canopy pieces together, except for the bottom panels. Apply glue to the bottom panels and affix the canopy to the plane.

Pinch along the leading and trailing edges of the wings to curl then down slightly. The curve of the leading edge should be tighter than that of the trailing edge. This shaping of the wings will help generated lift and will strengthen the wings somewhat.

Step 10: Finishing Touches

Make two small card stock bricks by gluing the rectangle pieces together.

Hold the plane in a comfortable throwing position. Use a pencil to mark where the pads of your thumb and middle finger are. Apply a spot of glue and attach the bricks to the marked points. If, at a later time, you feel you aren't getting enough traction to throw the plane well, add a third brick for your index finger.

Take a 4" strip of clear adhesive tape and apply it across the bottom of the wings and the fuselage, being careful to maintain symmetry of the dihedral.

Lastly, slide the paper clips onto the nose area, just in front of the canopy.

Step 11: Test Flights and Adjustments

Conduct some test flights indoors. The elevators should be raised a couple of degrees. Throw the plane straight and level, with some force. If the plane consistently pitches down, raise the elevators a little more and/or slide the paper clips further back. If the plane consistently pitches up, do the opposite. Note that the elevators should never be below a level (neutral) position. If the plane continues to pitch down, you may have curled the trailing edges of the wings too much, or the declination (relative plane of the wings and stabilizers) may be off. If it's the latter, raise the elevators even more.

If the plane drifts a little to one side or the other, adjust the rudder ever so slightly. Push it out to the plane's left by a few degrees if the plane is going right, and to the plane's right if it is drifting left.

Next ,you can test it outdoors. Keep in mind that even a mild breeze will affect the flight. Experiment with flights against the breeze, with the breeze, and perpendicular to the breeze. Apply what you've learned by trimming the rudder and stabilizers, and also the angle at which you throw it. Avoid bodies of water, boulders, cars, and trees. More importantly, have a lot of fun!!

CAUTION! Plane may cause eye injury. Be careful when throwing it. If other people are around, allow a safe distance.